Trying Other Desktop Environments with Ubuntu (Besides Unity)


To install

  1. sudo apt-get install xfce4 xfce4-goodies
  2. Restart
  3. Login as "xfce session"

What You Get Straight out of the Box

  • "Whisker menu" is the Start-menu-like menu in the top left. Same as Lubuntu
  • A nice, MacOS-like dock on the bottom with GNOME Terminal, File Manager, Web Browser (default), and a search


There's a nice Settings menu in Whisker menu > Settings > Settings Manager

  • In Window Manager > Keyboard, I set up a bucnh of window resizing keyboard shorts!
  • In Session and Startup > Application Autostart, I entered a custom command to remap caps lock to control. Name: remap caps Description: remap caps lock to control Command: /usr/bin/setxkbmap -option "ctrl:nocaps"
  • In Mouse and Touchpad > Devices > Touchpad, I enabled "Disable touchpag while typing" and I disabled "Tap touchpad to click"

Memory Usage

With Firefox, Terminal, and Settings open, I've got about 980 MB out of 2GB RAM "available". (This is compared to abut 1180 MB available when using Lubuntu-- it makes sense that Xubuntu slightly heavier than Lubuntu.)


  • Nice desktop
    • has a dock by default (edit settings by right-clicking between icons)
    • Window Switcher is nice.
    • Toolbar on top is nice out of the box.
  • Available on many distros! Only have to learn the tweaks and settings once!


  • Cursor is solid white (not smart) in Neovim 0.2, and then when I quit Neovim it's solid white (not smart) in the terminal as well. Not sure how to get at it... I tried creating ~/.config/xfce4/terminal/terminalrc and setting a hard-coded cursor color there but I couldn't get it to make any effect (even after a computer restart).
  • A helpful Mastodon user pointed me to his XFCE terminal config:


To install from Ubuntu

  1. sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop?
  2. When you get the chance to choose between "lightdm" and "sddm", I think you want "sddm".



seems more difficult:

What if this all goes to shit

Here's a very old "How to get back to pure Ubuntu post"?